Kent Kite Club Essay, Research Paper
“YES, HERE IN TUNBRIDGE WELLS we’ve got it all, the infamous Mineral Spa – often frequented by royalty, a theatre and the world-renowned Pantiles, an elegant shopping area, laid out way back in 1638. Plus many organisations and charities including the English Basket-weavers’ Association, Welsh Bagpipe Players Worldwide, and of course, the Kent Kite Club. Please see me after the tour if you would like a free guide to local clubs and events.”
The tour guide gave a sickly, toothy grin, then led the rest of the hot and tired tourists off to another ‘interesting’ part of the city. Mr. Mohandas Rashid, a tall dark Indian with a furry moustache, took a long breath as his eyes scanned the area for a snack bar, no such luck. He glanced at his watch. Damn! It was five to six! He had five minutes to get from the town centre to Derricks’ house, carrying his heavy suitcase, packed full with clothes and memories of times gone by. The journey was going to take at least twenty minutes! Derrick and Mohandas had been close friends since pre-school, and they’d been neighbours on an estate in Hemel Hempstead, but they hadn’t seen each other since University. Mr. Rashid paused as he thought over the contents of the case, and wondered what it would be like to see his old chum; would they still have the same things in common? Would Derrick not like his suit? It would be all right, even if they didn’t get on; it was only going to be for a few days. Mohandas wondered whether he should have brought his old kite, Derrick might think it was a bit childish, then again Derrick said on the phone to bring it, but Mohandas thought he might have been joking… “Stop worrying!” Mohandas told himself, as he reached for the suitcase and headed for ‘Redneck Drive’.
After an exhausting trek through the dirty streets of the sub-orderly town, Mohandas came across a brand new sign with the simple ‘REDNECK DRIVE’ in bold black letters looking down on him from the side of the last house in the road.
“I guess this must be it.” Mohandas said to himself as he reached inside the top-left pocket of his bleach-white, iron-pressed shirt for the letter stating his friends’ address. ‘Canterville Chase, Redneck Drive, Tunbridge Wells, Kent’. Mohandas glimpsed up the road. He could see a few outside lights on and a few shocked cats running off at the approach of a stranger. Mohandas looked at the houses, relatively new, quite upmarket, with brand new Toyotas decorating each plot. At the end of the cul-de-sac was a church hall, with notices concerning local trivialities plastered to a peeling turquoise painted board to the left of the entrance, with an orange lamp illuminating the papers. Mohandas walked down, looking at the house names as he went. About the sixth house down on the left-hand side was an average-sized abode, about 1 or 2 years old maybe, with a wooden name plaque with classical lettering telling him that this was ‘Canterville Chase’. Mohandas looked around as he prepared to cross the spotless road, saw nothing, and crossed. Before Mohandas reached the other side though, a bright red sports car came whizzing around the corner, which lead onto the main road. Mohandas only just managed to move out the way of the speeding vehicle, and as he spun round to take a look at the offensive party, he just managed to catch a shimmer of light spinning around a turn, the flash car was still accelerating! Mohandas threw an annoyed grunt and waved a finger at the vanished car, but decided not to pursue the tyrant. With a quick brush down, Mohandas continued to cross the red-tarmac sea that was Redneck Drive and went up to the house. Mohandas paused before knocking, wondering what a good opening line might be. Mohandas peered into the lace-curtained window, inside was the unmistakable Derrick Harper, in a relaxed, but tense ‘I’m anxiously waiting for an old school friend to knock’ pose on his maroon velvet sofa, watching television. As if sensing he were being watched, his old chum slammed down the remote control and started toward the window, waved a friendly two fingers at him, and headed toward the doorway. Mohandas stood back and the front door opened.
“Hey! How are you doing, you old son of a gun! Come in! Sit down! I’ll get you a cuppa. Now, tell me about your journey…” Derrick’s face had totally lit up, with an uncanny resemblance to the way he had looked after playing one of their schoolboy pranks all those many years ago. Derricks’ hands were held out in an amiable gesture welcoming Mohandas into his newly furnished home. Mohandas followed him into a fresh-looking green-blue and bright yellow hall and took his dry-cleaned suit off.
“Love the decorating! How long did it take?” Mohandas asked.
“You do? Rachel, my girlfriend, is an interior designer, as you can see, she’s very good. She helped with both sides; the practical and the planning. Oh, where are my manners? I’ll take your coat,” A very tense and hurried Mr. Harper held two outstretched arms, ready to grab Mohandas’s overcoat. Mohandas couldn’t remember if Derrick had always been that way… Mohandas handed over the overcoat, and Derrick promptly put it on a florescent blue coat peg. “Okay,” Derrick sighed deeply, then looked Mohandas up and down. “Why, Rashid, I do believe you’ve put on weight! Must be all those cream buns we stole from the tuck shop as kids!” Derrick laughed.
“Don’t remind me! I’m a lawyer now! I’d like to forget about those mischievous escapades of ours…” Mohandas smiled and shook his head as if to relieve himself of the memory.
“What?! You never told me, how come? I thought you had your heart set on being a doctor? I was going to be the legal one remember, I’m the cop! Out with it! Explain your change of heart.” Derrick asked with a puzzled smile stretched across his multiple chins.
“Oh, doesn’t matter, it’s a long story. Anyway, did I hear the mention of a cup of tea?”
“Oops! Sorry, I forgot all about it. Hey, I’ve got a better idea, lets pop down the local and I’ll introduce you to the boys…”
When they got to the pub, they were greeted by a drunk old man outside mumbling on about “sunlight falling,” and “plenty of snakes”. He was clearly out of his mind. When Mohandas approached the joint though, he stared at him with an open mouth then said, “Woo hoo hoo! Heh heh! A dark stranger! Yeez’ll be surry young man!” then turned back to his senseless mumbling. When Derrick heard this, he spun round and flashed his Police ID card and told the man to ‘shut it or he’d get him’, then straightened his jacket and continued to the door.
“You know, you’re turning back to your old ways.” Mohandas commented as they stepped through the entrance.
“Protecting me. Remember? That’s how we first became friends, Marcus Townsend, the school bully, you know, big, thick bushy eyebrows,” Mohandas continued.
“How could I forget, I saw that ugly face in my nightmares for the next six months. I was so scared of getting beaten up I even got my mum to pick me up from school!” Derrick grinned, then furrowed his brow.
“Do you remember how you first got involved?” asked Mohandas.
“OH! I remember now… You were new, friendless, second year, and Marcus had started to pick on your because you were Asian… And I stuck up for you.” Derrick laughed loudly at the pure idiocy in his actions.
“You also got your face punched in that day,” Mohandas continued.
“And every day after! I guess it was worth it though…” Derrick paused, then headed toward the bar. Mohandas followed and leant over the wooden drinks ledge and took a look at the selection.
“You guess it was worth it? I’m almost thinking of not buying you a drink…” Mohandas turned back to the beers, then to the barman.
“Erm… I’ll have an extra strong Bass and my friend will have a…”
“Right, that’s two extra strong Basses please.” The barman gave Mohandas a weary look, probably just noticing he was a stranger, then asked,
“Stayin’ long, are you?” Mohandas turned to Derrick again and replied,
“As long as he’ll have me!” Derrick and Mohandas both laughed, where as the barman just said, “That’ll be three-pounds and eighty-pence then, please.” Mohandas got out his wallet and paid for the two thick, warm, brown and strangely sweet brews and took the glasses. Derrick lifted his glass and said a cheer,
“To good friends!” as he raised his glass and caught a few odd glances from various patrons. They knocked their glasses and laughed together.
“What’s those lots’ problem?” Mohandas whispered after remarking the others’ reactions.
“Oh, they’re probably just not used to you. Don’t mind them; they’re just sour, bitter, old men. But anyway, how did you get into the legal profession?” asked Derrick.
“I work for the ‘Equal Opportunities Commission’. I do cases mainly dealing with unfair dismissal, racial harassment, sexual harassment etc., racist issues mostly, you know, living in Brixton. There’s a large amount of ethnic minorities concentrated in that area, so I was inspired.” Mohandas started to explain.
“So what, you noticed there wasn’t much policing on that front…?” Derrick guessed.
“You got it. I was just so sick of standing by, just tolerating all the verbal threats and abusive language, that I decided to take a degree in law after my one in medicine…”
“I’m sorry, run that by me again. You gave up on what would’ve been undoubtedly a highly successful career in medicine, for a highly unpredictable and stressful career in law? Why? How did your family take it? You were planning to follow your cousin into the medical field.” exclaimed Derrick, spilling his beer in the process. Mohandas gave him a suave, sarcastic smile, and took another sip of his beer.
“I knew I could do it, and my family didn’t care as long as I was successful and happy. They understood how I felt about the intimidators of innocents. It’s one thing that has always bugged me,”
“And me!” Derrick butted in.
“Like I was saying, I felt I owed it to the world, to prevent people from suffering due to their racial differences and –”
“Amen.” Derrick said with a widening grin.
“I’m doing it again, aren’t I? I’m babbling. Sorry, I apologise.”
“No worries. Hey, just like most lawyers, you’re really cranky!” Derrick laughed and took a look at his watch.
“My, it’s half-seven! We spent over one and half-hours boozing! You must be starved. Let’s get home and I’ll heat up a Bachelors.”
By the time they’d finished their supper, it was half-ten. They decided that they’d both watch telly until one could be bothered to pop the dishes away.
“Hey, I forgot to mention it, I brought the kite!” Mohandas sparked.
“Great. Did I tell you there’s even a special kite club here?” asked Derrick.
“No, but a tourist guy said about it, ‘Kent Kite Club’. Right?”
“Yeah, you know they hold meetings here, once a fortnight, quite regular really, in the church hall.” stated Derrick.
“Well, why don’t we go along? It could be fun.” suggested Mohandas.
“Um… I don’t know about that, I don’t think they like uninvited guests. Some of them are a bit odd like that.”
“Well, where do they fly their kites? Maybe we could drop by and see what’s going on.” proposed Mohandas.
“I think they do it up on the Common, every Saturday, dawn till dusk. Should be easy enough to find them, they even have their own specially made uniform white kites! Sometimes when I feel like it I go up to do a bit of flying, but I can’t be bothered to go to the meetings.”
Mohandas yawned, “Yeah? We could go up tomorrow. I think it’s my time to turn in,” he rubbed his eyes “So I’m sleeping in the front room.” Mohandas asked as he started to head up the stairs.
“Yeah, I’ll be going up soon, after this documentary’s over. ‘Behind Bars’. It’s all about the people in Holloway Prison. You know, this ‘Jenny’ has committed three attempts at burglary, and had two goes at arson!” exclaimed Derrick, spitting with frustration. “It’s deplorable!”
“I wasn’t really watching, you know, if I stay standing much longer, I’m going to faint.”
The next morning, as Mohandas was pouring out his Corn Flakes, and Derrick was making a peanut and jelly sandwich, the men heard a knock on the door. Derrick went to answer it.
“Oh hi! Didn’t expect it to be you, Rach. Come on in, meet Mohandas.” Mohandas heard from the hallway. This had to be Rachel, the interior designer girlfriend. He had been wondering what Derricks’ taste was like, so he got up and headed to the hall.
Impeccably good. Rachel was a slim, blue-eyed brunette with an open smile. Mohandas assumed she went for blokes on personality, because although Derrick had a great character, he wasn’t very handsome.
“Hi! You’re Rachel?” Mohandas asked.
“That was it last time I looked at my underwear! So you must be Mohandas.” Rachel returned.
“Yeah. I’m stealing your bloke for a few days while I check out the sights.” Mohandas said.
“It’s nice to finally meet you, Derrick’s been going on and on about you ever since this visit was arranged. So you’re visiting the sights, eh? In which case I would thoroughly recommend a visit to the Salvation Army.”
“The what?” Mohandas retorted, assuming he’d misheard.
“The Salvation Army. Nicole and I decorated the place last weekend. It looks so excellent, multicoloured walls and tasteful ornaments everywhere. Did you like the house?”
“Yeah, I even asked who’d done it!” replied Mohandas.
“Just a sec, isn’t the Salvation Army by the common?” questioned Derrick.
“Yeah, why, you planning on a picnic? I make a great peanut and jelly sandwich…” Rachel reminded Derrick, laughing.
“I know, but Mohandas and I were going to go up and fly our kites with the Kite Club, see if we could go along to a meeting maybe, Mohandas and I used to be real kite-fanatics in our young whippersnapper days.”
“Oh! The Kite Club! Yeah, it might be a cool idea if we all went up to the Salvation, then afterwards, you boys could go and play with your toys.” volunteered Rachel.
“Yeah! When shall we leave, Derrick?” asked Mohandas.
“Well I can leave in just about half an hour, all I’ve got to do is have my breakfast, put on the answer machine, and do the washing up. You?” asked Derrick to Mohandas.
“Just finish my cereal.”
“Well that’s sorted then,” Rachel paused to look at her golden watch, smiling as she did so. “We leave at half ten. Oh, don’t bother with the washing up Derrick, I’ll do that. I’ll also do some sandwiches.” Rachel gave Derrick a quick kiss and dashed into the kitchen in order to carry out her promised tasks, then shouted back at them to get a move on.
By the time they’d got to the Salvation Army, it was half eleven. Derrick had decided he desperately needed a shower so the group were delayed a further half-hour. The main room was cramped, obviously, only three men would be able to fit along it’s width, but the paint-work played an odd illusion with his eyes, orange and pink, striped horizontally in thick lines along the walls. Mohandas figured Rachel must be talented after seeing some of her work. He noticed a painting of a white kite with unusual pattern markings on the wall.
“Rachel,” Rachel spun her head round from a conversation with an old, solemn-looking black man on the hospice floor.
“Who’s the artist? It’s an odd subject matter.”
“You’re talking to her.” She got up and stared at the painting. “I did it about a year ago, I tried to sell it but no-one wanted it. It’s of one of those uniform Kent Kite Club kites; my father was a devotee. Every Saturday he’d spend up the common, flying his ‘little white hawk’.” Mohandas gave Rachel an awkward smile, I mean, what does he say? ‘Nice to know your father’s a loony?’
“So, uh, why is that guy here? He looks so glum, is he okay to talk to?” asked Mohandas, pointing at the elderly grey-haired male in the corner with whom Rachel had previously been conversing.
“Billy Marsden, his name is.” Rachel looked both sides then whispered, “If you’re planning to talk to him, tread carefully, he lost his only daughter, the only one that cared for him, in a tragic fire in their home. He used to be a cheery soul, Derrick knew him well. Derrick, needless to say, took him home for the first few weeks, till we found somewhere else, it’s the main reason I decorated this place, other than good publicity, his comfort.” She nodded at him and Mohandas looked sympathetically at the huddled up fellow. He decided to investigate. Mohandas slowly walked east towards the window, near to the man.
“Hello, I’m with Rachel,” Mohandas realised he didn’t have a clue what to talk to him about, Billy was staring up at him with tired, red eyes. “Umm, do you like the Kite painting?” he asked. It was as good an opening as any other was. The man lifted an eyebrow at him, then looked him up and down, and then relaxed his tense shoulders.
“No. Do you, Mr, er..?” questioned the friendly old gentleman.